By Tony Megahey
The family race rivalry will be typically intense at Scone’s TAB meeting on Friday but whoever wins, the congratulations will be heartfelt.
Five-decade horseman Max Crockett rarely races against his accomplished young son Cameron these days, but they’re always striving for that winning edge.
Max, semi-retired at 74 years who was a pre-trainer for turf legends Bart Cummings, TJ Smith and for Neville Begg and Les Bridge, is canny enough to have something in his favour when he and Cameron are opposed in the $30,000 Emirate’s Park BM 66 (1400m) on Friday.
Max’s former Bridge-trained Mackellar’s Love ($8 on TAB fixed odds), with early Kembla placings, is coming off a dominant win at Mudgee, while Cameron’s three-race winner Velaro ($2.90 favourite) is resuming from a spell, primed by two recent barrier trials.
“Here’s a little secret to tell the punters and Cameron knows it too,” Max chuckled. “Chad Lever has won on both horses - he was offered the ride on Velaro but stuck with this ol' fella’s horse and we’re drawn inside.”
"I hope Chad's a good judge, but Cameron’s booked Robert Thompson, so he’s got to be hard to beat. I guarantee Cameron will have him ready to go first-up off those trials as he rides his own trackwork.
"But I’ve been around long enough to know, we haven’t got this race between us. This is a strong restricted race and so many of the top stables are here.
"Paul Perry has got a couple in it - great trainer, and there’s other winning form in it. But Cameron is a switched-on young fella and a real good judge. When he brings one to town he knows you’ve got to have plenty in the tank and he rarely misses.”
Last season Cameron’s won 34 races, stable star Nictock won a midweek city treble ridden by Hugh Bowman and Sharpe Hussler landed a long-priced plunge winning at Rosehill Gardens in July.
The Crocketts have neighbouring stables at Mudgee’s track and while Cameron is a prolific regional winner with a big team in work and profile clients, Max has cut back to just a few gallopers. Max’s wife Cheryl does ample work for both of her men.
“We try not to race against each other, but it’s difficult to find alternate races up here when they’re similar grade and benchmark,” Cheryl explained. And, of course, there are different owners involved.
“Max has cut right back but Cameron is extending all the time, getting better quality horses. He’s getting some really nice stock from Darby Racing.”
Aside from the Crockett influence on Friday, an airborne Kris Lees stable produces another highly-promising youngster in Frankel filly, Frankely Awesome ($1.55 fav), contesting the Pryde’s Easifeed Class 2 (1600m). She powered to win a Newcastle maiden recently by a widening three lengths and looks one of the better bets on a deep eight-race Scone card.
Her stablemate Miss Fabulass, also by the Hall of Fame English champion, won impressively at Royal Randwick last week amidst the euphoria of Winx. Lees’s booming streak is set to continue at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday with Graff, Gem Song and Princess Posh.
Scone will race on a good 4 track rating with fine weather.